Linking BIM and Specs with Keynotes

Coordination, coordination, coordination! The better construction documents are coordinated, the better the outcome for the owner - not to mention the design and construction teams. Imagine the perfect set of construction documents: no bidder's questions, no addenda, no RFIs, no modifications, and no change orders (provided the owner did not revise scope). How many hours would be saved during construction administration with this perfect set? Heck, the architect and contractor might actually preserve their profits.

Technology may be poised to help control some of the coordination problems of the past. Just using the same terminology in the specifications and on the drawings for each product and system would be a huge benefit.

We witness the classic example on nearly every project. The drawings label identical glazed openings as storefront, curtain wall, and windows - sometimes all on the same drawing sheet. The specifications include separate sections for storefront, curtain wall, and windows - each with its own construction and performance. What's the contractor to furnish and install? If the contractor provides the products as labeled, the contract is met, but not as intended. If the contractor stops and questions the documents, a revision and potential change order may result. Who can say what the contractor actually bid.

Revit, as BIM, includes the ability to create a keynote file of the terminology used to label components within the model. The file can be managed external to the BIM file, imported, and attached to the individual components.  Then every time a keynote is attached to the component, the keynote automatically displays the correct identifying text.

Simple! Well maybe not. This still takes some effort. The keynote file must be coordinated with the terminology used in the specifications to ensure windows are not storefront.

The project specifier is in a great position to create and manage the keynote list. The keynotes can be generated using the terminology already existing within the specifications. Plus the keynote can be associated with individual specification sections. Then when keynotes are placed in the model and ultimately on drawing sheets, the readers can see keynotes that identify the section where the product is specified and the correct name for the product such as this:

085200.A1 Aluminum Window

On the flip side, the BIM can generate a schedule showing which individual components have an assigned keynote and those that do not. This schedule offers a simple check to be sure the specifications include all the components used in the BIM. Find a missing or unused keynote? Modify the spec to correct the content. Revise the keynote list. And update the BIM with the new information. Virtually instant, perfect coordination and one step closer to that perfect document set.

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